(Edited press release)
Dick Jerardi, sports writer for the Philadelphia Daily News, has won the 2006 media Eclipse Award for writing in the news/commentary category for his series of articles on the events surrounding the injury and surgery on Barbaro in the hours following the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico Race Course. Jerardi’s articles “A Nightmare, Right from the Start,” and “Maybe Step,” were both published May 22, and “In Barbaro’s Corral” was published May 24.
Honorable mention in the category went to J. Davant Latham Jr. for “ Crystal Clear,” a commentary on the life of 2005 Eclipse Award sprinter Lost in the Fog, which appeared in The Blood-Horse of Sept. 30, 2006; and Joe Clancy for his article “ More Than We Know,” which was published in The Blood-Horse of June 10, 2006.
In the first of the three articles, Jerardi described the scene at Pimlico right after the Barbaro’s injury and the colt’s journey to the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center that evening.
The second article detailed the explanations of Dr. Dean Richardson after performing successful surgery on Barbaro at New Bolton.
The final story provided comment on the decision of Barbaro’s owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, to move ahead with the surgery and the emotional turmoil of the preceding two days.
“I wanted to give the readers the experience of what it was like at those crisis moments at Pimlico and New Bolton through my eyes,” said Jerardi, who has been covering sports for the Daily News since 1985.
“I had never been in a situation quite like this one before. It was one of the biggest stories I’ve every covered, and of course, in those long hours of Barbaro’s surgery at New Bolton, you didn’t know the outcome. My editors gave me a lot and leeway and I appreciated it very much.”
Jerardi also made special mention of Dr. Richardson: “He was brilliant in his ability to explain veterinary medicine in layman’s terms on deadline,” he said. “He explained things as someone who was both ‘player’ and ‘coach.’ ”
The judges for the category were Reid Cherner, USA Today; Jim Peden, former vice-president of communications for The Jockey Club; and Fred Klein, sports columnist and journalist.
The Eclipse Awards are presented by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Turf Writers Association, and Daily Racing Form. Eclipse Awards are bestowed upon horses and individuals whose outstanding achievements have earned them the title of champion in their respective categories. Awards also are given to recognize members of the media for outstanding coverage of Thoroughbred racing.